Unlike most Yacht Clubs, our season starts in September and runs through May. The local wind patterns don’t generally support competitive sailing at Lake Pleasant in the summertime; however you will see us out at Tempe Town Lake on Sunday afternoons throughout the summer in our Heat Stroke racing series. Our General Membership Meetings happen monthly at Rolling Hills Golf Course, to which anyone is invited. Here is a typical series of events for our club roughly month by month:
Late September will bring about the start of our official racing season. We usually have a “tune up” or practice day one week prior to the first week of racing so people can dust off their boats (literally!) and we can check out the Race Committee gear. Tempe Town Lake Fall Racing usually starts in early September, but we still use the first Lake Pleasant Race day as our official “Opening Day.”
Racing continues alternate weekends at Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake. Members keep close watch on the race scores as there are optimally 10 race days in the fall series. They also keep an eye out for gaffes made by their competitors for nominations for Ye Blunder Bucket! The Arizona Sailing Foundation usually starts their courses around the beginning of October as well.
Our membership meeting in December will typically award the Fall fleet winners, although it is not uncommon for the Tempe Town Lake series to continue well in to the month. We also usually do a Pirate Gift Exchange and award Ye Blunder Bucket to to a “deserving” individual.
Our biggest event of the year is the Annual Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup. In the past we’ve had over 100 entries to this event, held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Martin Luther King Weekend. It is the first Leukemia Cup of the year and we have people from as far away as New York and Canada come to participate. Festivities include a silent auction, live band, various speakers (including Gary Jobson), raffle and of course plentiful libations for all the participants.
February – April
Before the dust has settled, we jump right back into fleet racing at Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake. The Arizona Sailing Foundation begins a second round of sailing classes in early February. As a diversion, some fleets will participate in the San Diego NOOD Regatta in March, usually around St. Patrick’s Day. The season ends at the end of April or the first weekend in May.
This is the month that we bring it all to a close. Our point-to-point “Tall Cactus Regatta” is early in the month. The winners of each fleet compete in a winner take all, one design Club Championship Race to crown the year’s best sailor. We finish out the season with our Commodore’s Ball where we give out all of our Club Trophies and empanel a new Board of Directors.
It’s HOT in Arizona! We run a “for pride only” Heat Stroke racing series on Sunday afternoons at Tempe Town Lake (water guns highly encouraged). Many people head for cooler climates, but we do have a few things going on. Many club members participate in the “down the coast” races, one of the most popular being Marina del Ray to San Diego, immediately followed by the Vice Commodore’s Cruise to Catalina Island. Both happen the week of the 4th of July. We also have an annual family camping outing, often at Kinnikinick Lake in the Coconino National Forest.